"Come now, Janet," she said, "confession is good for the soul—own—now do own that you cordially hate the new girl, Bridget O'Hara."Olive Moore belonged to the toadying faction in the school. Toadies, however, can be useful, and Janet was by no means above making use of Olive in case of need.
"Yes; you have got to earn it first, however," replied Miss Collingwood, slipping back the pale green panel with a dexterous movement.
Alice, Violet, and several more of the little girls were running and tumbling up the grassy slope.[Pg 49] The moment they saw Mrs. Freeman they ran to her.
She was a tall, slight girl, fairly good-looking, and not too strong-minded."We are not by ourselves when we are together," replied Bridget. "Come along, girls, don't be such little despicable cowards! I'll square it with Mrs.[Pg 44] Freeman. You trust me. Mrs. Freeman will forgive us everything when the queen is coming back. Now, do let's be quick, we haven't a minute to lose!"
"Thanks!" said Janet calmly."Now, Marshall, what is it? How fussy and important you look!"
"So it is, Bridget. But you will permit me, an old woman compared to you, to point out a fact—the self-denying people are the happy ones, the selfish are the miserable. Take your own way now in your youth, sip each pleasure as it comes, turn from the disagreeables, trample on those who happen to be in your way, as you did on that rosebud just now, and you will lay up misery for yourself in the future. You will be a very wretched woman when you reach my age."It really was too absurd. Janet could not help fidgeting almost audibly.
"Oh, my dear, ought you not to be asleep?" exclaimed Miss Patience in thin, anxious tones from the other end of the board, while Miss Delicia ran up to the girl and took one of her dimpled white hands in hers.
All this time Miss Percival, the head girl of the school, was absent. She had been ill, and had gone home for a short change. She did not return until Bridget had been at the Court a fortnight.
Janet and Olive Moore were returning slowly to the house after a vigorous game of tennis. They stopped to look down at the group who surrounded Dorothy.